When does human life begin?


The aim of this poster is to analyse the concept of the beginning of life and life itself by contrasting what is theorised in Massimo Fagioli's book Death Instinct and Knowledge and what is regulated from a legal point of view. In Death Instinct and Knowledge, the concept of the beginning of life is theorised by focusing precisely on the dynamics of human mental birth that begins as a fantasy that is then an image. The poster in particular will focus on the dynamics of the interaction between light and retina. From a legal point of view, to explain the concept of human birth, I will start by referring to the right to life par excellence and how this is regulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(Art.3), the European Convention on Human Rights (Art.2) and the Charter of Fundamental Rightsof the European Union (Art.2). I will dwell above all on the fact that this right is regulated and recognised universally and how, despite the fact that it is not expressly mentioned in theConstitution, it is considered the primary legal good.

The poster will continue by comparing the right to abortion (Law 194/1978) and the crime of infanticide. With particular regard to these two concepts, the issue will also be dealt with by means of a brief historical excursus and how this distinction was already apparent in the Napoleonic Code.The docimasia test was carried out on lung tissue in order to establish whether there had been respiratory acts prior to death: a lung segment was immersed in water: if it floated, it meant that the infant had breathed, and therefore the crime of infanticide loomed; otherwise, if it sank in the water, it meant that an abortion had occurred.

To conclude, a brief reference will also be made to the concept of the end of life and its regulationin Law 578 of 1993 'Rules for the ascertainment and certification of death'. The first article of thatlaw in fact identifies death with the irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain. It will then behighlighted how Law 578 confirms what Massimo Fagioli discovered with reference to thebeginning of human life in that, taking up the concept of the relationship between light and retina,the retina is a brain tissue. In particular, it will be analysed how the 1993 law has distorted theconcept of death by identifying it no longer in the cessation of cardiac functions, but in encephalicones.


Fagioli M. Istinto di morte e conoscenza(1972), L’Asino d’oro edizioni, Roma 2017 https://www.senato.it/application/xmanager/projects/leg18/file/DICHIARAZIONE_diritti_umani_4lingue.pdf
Legge 22 maggio 1978 n. 194
Legge 29 dicembre 1993 n.578
A.FIORELLA, Questioni fondamentali della parte speciale del diritto penale, Torino, 2019